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Season for Surrender
by Theresa Romain
(Zebra, $7.99, PG) 978-1-4201-2886-4
***
Alexander Edgware, the current Earl of Xavier, is a gambling man. His distant cousin, the Marquess of Lockwood, is his betting buddy and Xavier's goal is to never let Lockwood win. The newest bet is that Xavier needs to invite an unmarried reputable lady to his two-week house party at Clifton Hall and ensure she stays the whole time. Piece of cake!

Lockwood ups the ante though by requiring the lady to be Louisa Oliver, the quiet bluestocking who already hates him. Xavier is always up for a challenge though, so he accepts the bet. Getting Louisa to agree to attend the house party is easy, though how Xavier does it is not shared with readers.

Louisa loves books and Xavier's library is very impressive. It's going to be easy for Louisa to stay at Clifton Hall for two weeks. What Xavier doesn't expect though, is that Lockwood is trying to influence things in his favor, by creating unconformable situations for Louisa that may affect her reputation and force her to retreat from the Hall.

The time Xavier spends with Louisa is enjoyable and affects his feelings for her. He discovers that he is not just an Earl, but also a person named Alex who doesn't have to put up a front for society. Lockwood's behavior also shows a side that Xavier has always overlooked and he finds himself in the middle having to choose between being Xavier and being Alex.

Season for Surrender has an interesting premise, but falls short in several areas. The dialogue between Xavier and Louisa is the most entertaining part of the story. Lockwood is a terrible person, whose personality comes out through in the book, but there is not much background to him, so it's a bit surprising to see the change and it doesn't completely make sense.

There are a lot of house games going on and the author does a good job describing those and keeping the reader engaged through those parts. The flow of the book is slow in other parts though, which makes it sluggish.

Season for Surrender is book two in the Seasons Series. Many references are made to Xavier and Louisa's past together, but not in enough detail to fully understand. Overall, I'm neutral on being able to recommend it or not and therefore give it three hearts. Perhaps readers who have read the first book, Season for Temptation, will have a better background and enjoy this one more.

--Nichole Howell


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